Corporate Sustainability Management and Environmental Ethics

Douglas Schuler, Andreas Rasche, Dror Etzion, Lisa Newton

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This article reviews four key orientations in environmental ethics that range from an instrumental understanding of sustainability to one that acknowledges the intrinsic value of sustainable behavior (i.e., sustainable resource use, conservation and preservation, rights-based perspectives, and deep ecology). It then shows that the current scholarly discourse around corporate sustainability management—as reflected in environment management (EM), corporate social responsibility (CSR), and corporate political activity (CPA)—mostly favors an instrumental perspective on sustainability. Sustainable business practices are viewed as anthropocentric and are conceptualized as a means to achieve competitive advantage. Based on these observations, we speculate about what corporate sustainability management might look like if it applied ethical orientations that emphasize the intrinsic value of nature. This discussion also includes an introduction to two articles in this special section focused on the role of the environmental manager and sustainability standards, both of which offer paths for incorporating intrinsic valuation of the environment into sustainability management.
This article reviews four key orientations in environmental ethics that range from an instrumental understanding of sustainability to one that acknowledges the intrinsic value of sustainable behavior (i.e., sustainable resource use, conservation and preservation, rights-based perspectives, and deep ecology). It then shows that the current scholarly discourse around corporate sustainability management—as reflected in environment management (EM), corporate social responsibility (CSR), and corporate political activity (CPA)—mostly favors an instrumental perspective on sustainability. Sustainable business practices are viewed as anthropocentric and are conceptualized as a means to achieve competitive advantage. Based on these observations, we speculate about what corporate sustainability management might look like if it applied ethical orientations that emphasize the intrinsic value of nature. This discussion also includes an introduction to two articles in this special section focused on the role of the environmental manager and sustainability standards, both of which offer paths for incorporating intrinsic valuation of the environment into sustainability management.
LanguageEnglish
JournalBusiness Ethics Quarterly
Volume27
Issue number2
Pages213-237
ISSN1052-150X
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Corporate sustainability
  • Environmental ethics
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Environmental management
  • Corporate political activity
  • Sustainability standards

Cite this

Schuler, Douglas ; Rasche, Andreas ; Etzion, Dror ; Newton, Lisa. / Corporate Sustainability Management and Environmental Ethics. In: Business Ethics Quarterly. 2017 ; Vol. 27, No. 2. pp. 213-237
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Schuler, D, Rasche, A, Etzion, D & Newton, L 2017, 'Corporate Sustainability Management and Environmental Ethics' Business Ethics Quarterly, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 213-237. DOI: 10.1017/beq.2016.80

Corporate Sustainability Management and Environmental Ethics. / Schuler, Douglas; Rasche, Andreas; Etzion, Dror; Newton, Lisa.

In: Business Ethics Quarterly, Vol. 27, No. 2, 2017, p. 213-237.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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AB - This article reviews four key orientations in environmental ethics that range from an instrumental understanding of sustainability to one that acknowledges the intrinsic value of sustainable behavior (i.e., sustainable resource use, conservation and preservation, rights-based perspectives, and deep ecology). It then shows that the current scholarly discourse around corporate sustainability management—as reflected in environment management (EM), corporate social responsibility (CSR), and corporate political activity (CPA)—mostly favors an instrumental perspective on sustainability. Sustainable business practices are viewed as anthropocentric and are conceptualized as a means to achieve competitive advantage. Based on these observations, we speculate about what corporate sustainability management might look like if it applied ethical orientations that emphasize the intrinsic value of nature. This discussion also includes an introduction to two articles in this special section focused on the role of the environmental manager and sustainability standards, both of which offer paths for incorporating intrinsic valuation of the environment into sustainability management.

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Schuler D, Rasche A, Etzion D, Newton L. Corporate Sustainability Management and Environmental Ethics. Business Ethics Quarterly. 2017;27(2):213-237. Available from, DOI: 10.1017/beq.2016.80